Almost all individual household units, regardless of their size, feature a garage space.
Garages have become essential, multi-functional spaces to be used not only for car parkings, but also used as storage areas, workshops, studios and offering endless potential opportunities for the use of the space.
Although a lot of people consider garage lighting to be insignificant or inconsequential, however, considering the range of applications for the garage space, a proper and well planned lighting system is extremely important for the operation and safety of the space.
Poor or improper lighting can affect the functions intended, it can cause eye strain and may also lead to accidents.
Even if used for one main purpose of car parking, only proper lighting will allow smooth steering and a defined parking area, especially during the night.
Why does your Garage need good lighting?
No matter what the intended function or use of the garage space, it is vital to install and set-up a proper lighting system.
A dark and faintly lit garage does not cause issues only for the work intended, but it can also pose a safety problem, causing you to trip over threads or hoses or unintentionally knock off objects.
If you attempt to carry out any maintenance work, even if minor, in a dimly lit garage, you’ll be putting yourself at a risk of accidents.
A well planned lighting system in your garage, significantly reduces the risks and ensures personal safety and an accident-free environment.
This article will act as a guide for the types, details and installation methods of potential garage lighting systems using LED light fixtures.
The best garage lighting transforms a potentially dangerous space into a safer and friendlier environment with a more comfortable and open feel.
Luckily, the market offers a wide range of LED lighting types that can meet the specific needs of the space.
Replacing conventional lighting fixtures with energy-efficient LEDs or screws can effectively introduce multi-position lighting and upgrade your overall garage lighting system.
Now that we highlighted the importance of garage parking spaces, the next key issue to determine is the amount of lighting required within the garage.
To address this question, it is essential to understand what the term ‘lumens’ stands for, as it is often shown or highlighted on the packaging or advertisements for LED light bulbs.
Lumens are a measure of the amount of light produced by a light source, and the higher the lumens rating is, the brighter the LED.
Lumen output is different from the ‘wattage’ which refers to the power consumed by an electrical appliance.
When addressing the amount of lighting a space, including garages, requires, you should typically consider and determine the ‘lumens’ required.
As a general rule, for every square meter of a basic garage space, a minimum of 50 Lumens of lighting is required. For more practical purposes, 80-100 Lumens are recommended per square foot.
Effectively, for a one-car garage, with an approximate area of 264 square feet (22 feet by 12 feet), 13200 Lumens of lighting is required. A two-car garage, with an area of 440 (22 feet by 20 feet )square feet, 22000 Lumens of lighting is required.
If you intend to use your garage for other purposes such as a workshop or a studio, a higher amount of lighting is required.
For example, for a garage cum workshop, approximately 300 lumens per square foot is required for proper illumination.
There are various types of light sources that can be used for garages, including Incandescent Light Bulbs, Fluorescent Light Bulbs/CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) and LEDs.
Incandescent lights are generally the light source to avoid using. This type consumes a lot of energy with low light outputs, and inadequate brightness levels.
Incandescent lights also have an extremely short life expectancy and ultimately require more frequent replacements.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs/CFLs use a fluorescent coating to convert UV Radiation into Visible Light Radiation.
They are more energy efficient and last longer than incandescent lights, but still fall short in comparison to LEDs.
LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes have extremely long life expectancies, and consume much less energy while delivering a greater light output, which makes this type extremely economical, greatly reducing the electricity bills.
Based on the brief description of all three light sources, LED lights are clearly the best option.
LED lights are much more energy efficient and last longer than other types, and are cheaper on the long run.
LED stands for “Light Emitting Diode,” referring to a small component in the middle of the light that glows when electricity flows through it.
These bulbs are a popular choice because of their brightness, energy efficiency, and longer lifetimes.
LEDs are standard in daily objects such as flashlights, and they produce directional light with a very bright beam of light directly that focuses on a small area.
Garage lighting manufacturers compensate for this in two ways: they create LED lights with multi-directional orientations and install reflectors to distribute light throughout the space evenly.
These features make the output of LED lights a great alternative to the incandescent bulb’s comprehensive cast lighting, without the irritating chemicals and UV light of incandescent bulbs.
LED lights are also 100% recyclable, which can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Over its lifetime, a LED lamp can complete the work of about 25 incandescent bulbs, greatly reducing manufacturing and production materials.
When you use LED lights in your Garage, you can expect many benefits, including:
- Long lifetimes
- Energy-efficiency …
- Improved environmental performance. …
- The ability to operate in cold conditions. …
- No heat or ultraviolet radiation. …
- Design flexibility. …
- Instant lighting and the ability to withstand frequent changes. …
- Low voltage operation.
LED lights hardly emit forward heat, while traditional bulbs (such as incandescent bulbs) convert more than 90% of the total energy used to power them into heat.
Additionally, the lower power consumption of LED lights makes their operation much more effective in low-voltage electrical systems.
These types are mounted to the ceiling or attached to the ceiling via ropes or chains.
High Bay lights are generally used for large, commercial purposes and facilities, typically installed surface mounted or hanging from a high ceiling, hence the name ‘High’ bay.
They provide large amounts of illuminance, uniformly and fully illuminating large spaces.
Shop lights are great options for lighting small and compact garages.
Such an arrangement of a shop light is cost-effective, has low power consumption, while producing sufficient illuminance for the space.
Shop lights traditionally used fluorescent lights, but nowadays, they have been replaced by LED lights.
The LED Light can either be directly fixed to the fixture (Integrated LED Shop Light) or might require separate fixing (LED Shop light retrofits).
In both cases, the installation process is very simple and convenient for the user.
Smaller lights such as LED Strips may also be used. These are accessory lights used to illuminate specific areas such as cupboards, cabinets, or other similar areas that general light can not reach.
LED lights mounted to the Ceiling are the most commonly used and recommended form of lighting.
An overhead light is a light that is mounted on or hung from the ceiling.
Clamp-on lights are portable lights that can be attached anywhere and offer flexibility to change their position. They are generally used for workstations and work benches, if needed in the garage.
These lights illuminate specific functions on workstations in a garage.
The entrance of a garage is usually illuminated by an LED Strip.
Choosing the right type of LED is very important and it is worthy to determine the following features before settling on the specific light.
‘Lumen’ rating of the bulb is the most important feature to keep in mind before buying an LED.
Lumens determine how bright a light bulb is and the larger the space, the greater the light requirement, so the higher the LED ‘lumen rating’ should be.
Wattage determines the power consumption of an LED. Higher wattages mean the light will consume more and ultimately increase the value of the electricity bill.
You should always select LED options with lower wattages.
A key point to keep in mind is that wattage has no relation to the brightness (which is related to the ‘Lumen rating’) of the LED.
Colour Temperature is another important feature to factor in during the selection process.
Each LED light has a specific temperature rating (Example 5000 Kelvin or 5000 K), which is an indicator of the warmth or coolness of the LED bulb.
Low colour temperatures (~3000 K) correspond to warm, pleasant shades of light while high colour temperatures (~6000 K) refer to cool and energizing light effects.
It is generally recommended to choose a balanced colour temperature, neither too cool nor too warm, i.e, in between the two extremes (~4000 – 5000 K)
Colour temperature refers to the colour at which light is produced, measured on the Kelvin scale.
The temperature range is between 3500K to 6000K, with low values closer to warm and yellow, and higher values matching cold and blue effects.
Most garages tend to be industrial in grey, so lower lighting temperatures are generally appreciated, while higher temperatures can make the floors dull.
Generally aim for a temperature around 4-5000K. The light emitted by a 5000K light bulb has a subtle blue effect, but with no negative or dizzying effects.
Some lights have an adjustable colour temperature that allows you to go through the range and choose the most suitable colour temperature.
The primary goal of lights fixtures in the garage is to cover the maximum area while using the minimum number of lights, ensuring a uniform distribution of light within the space.
Choosing LED lights is not enough, the proper LED type needs to be selected to achieve the best effect and LED Battens are generally the most effective types of LED for garages.
What are LED Battens?
LED batten lights are similar to the simple fluorescent light tubes except that they hold LED bulbs. LED battens emit uniform light and therefore ensure that the entire garage is well lit.
There are several advantages of installing an LED Batten:
- LED Battens are cheap, long-lasting and energy-efficient
- LED Battens are easy to install and also easy to replace (although they rarely malfunction and require minimal replacement)
- LED Battens emit uniform lighting and thus illuminate the entire garage equally if placed spaced.
- LED Battens are also compact. They require a small space and would thereby fit in any garage.
The primary goal of any lighting system is to cover the maximum area using the minimum number of lights.
Therefore the ideal placement of an overhead light is in the middle of the ceiling, while having an even distribution.
In case two lights are used, then the lights should be located at equal distances from the centre and the boundary.
Other alternative locations to fix the lights in a garage are the space above the garage door or on the walls of the garage.
These setups would generate focused light outputs and not uniform lighting.
Some garages might not have a proper power supply that can provide a supply for the LED Battens.
In such a case, it might be a good option to install solar panels to generate electricity and power the LED garage lights.
An alternative to solar panels is a Portable Generator that acts as a high-power battery and can in turn supply the LED lights.
There are several methods to ensure the most suitable lighting effects and guarantee a great lighting upgrade in the garage.
- Add accessory lightings. Small lights like LED Strips located at the entrance or at specific locations can greatly upgrade the aesthetics and light effect in the space.
Lighting installed at specific locations in the garage, such as workstations, cabinets or cupboard edges will not only improve the function of the space but will also enhance the appearance of the garage.
- Always measure the garage dimensions before choosing the appropriate LED light and the corresponding lumen rating of the LED Batten.
Dim or overly lit rooms are very unpleasant to the eyes, so it is very important to study and properly plan the light for your garage.
- Light placement and installation is very important. Oddly-placed lights will result in non-uniform illumination of the garage and will give an asymmetric look which is not attractive.
- Choose and install LED lights. LED lights are the best option for a garage space and offer multiple advantages over every other alternative.
Replacing traditional lights with LED lights will not only illuminate the garage more effectively but will also be far more cost effective.